The Benefits of Volunteering at Your Kids’ School
Guest Contributor /// Jamie Arial of Eagle, ID
Parents have mixed emotions as a new school year approaches. As the mother of four children, all under the age of 10, it is always a bittersweet time. The start of a new school year can be hectic with new schedules, fitting homework back into the evening routine and nightly explanations on why my kids have to go to bed when the sun is still out. Between school and extracurricular activities, the majority of their day is spent away from home. The more time they spend away from home, the more I realize how essential it is for me to be a volunteer at my children’s school.
Children love to see their parents in the classroom. The reassurance that “My parent is in my class, they love and care about me,” is such a treasured feeling. Over the years, I have learned that seeing what’s going on in class helps me engage with my children in conversation that evening. Instead of asking “What did you learn today?” I ask about a specific topic I know they learned. I am able to talk with them and strengthen our relationship.
Creating and maintaining a nurturing and positive environment for a classroom and school is not an easy task. Volunteering allows me to assist teachers with individual assessments, work in smaller groups and provide extra help where it is needed. I can also do small group work and reading assignments, which allows the teacher to do more teaching. If you are feeling really adventurous, volunteer your time in the library. Books and reading programs are always needing to be organized. When a community of volunteers come together and dedicate their time and resources to build a solid foundation of support, it gives all children a more meaningful school experience.
PTO is another great volunteer option for parents looking to be involved in school. PTO has helped me get to know teachers, staff, and other parents as we share information and find out how problems are solved. As a PTO member, you can help plan and manage school events, family events, and assist in the much-needed fundraising. Also, helping office staff with administrative work and helping the school with their specific needs is always appreciated. What you can accomplish as a PTO member is as diverse as the needs of your school.
I have found so many benefits from volunteering at my children’s school and I know you can too! As you volunteer, your relationship with your child, students and staff will vastly improve. So go check your calendar and commit to volunteer at your child’s school. Oh, and enjoy every last minute of summer you have with your kids!
Jamie Arial lives in Eagle, Idaho. She is the mother of four with one on the way. She is an advocate for parent involvement in education.